NV: Blue Ribbon Committee Examines Unmet Transit Needs in Washoe County

A Blue Ribbon Committee for Transit, comprised of business and community leaders, is taking an in-depth look at how to address unmet transit needs in Washoe County.

The committee includes influential business and community leaders, and meets on the third Thursday of every month. The first meeting was held on July 17th. The next meeting will be August 21st from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at RTC offices located at: 2050 Villanova Drive in Reno.

“The work of the Blue Ribbon Committee will help us in how to move forward to address the unmet needs and funding challenges we face in Washoe County in the future,” RTC Executive Director Lee Gibson said.

Working closely with the public, a vision for transit was developed as part of the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan. People strongly expressed the need for more transit in the community to serve a growing senior population, accommodate the travel preferences of the millennial generation and help stimulate economic growth. The sentiment was echoed when more than 250 people attended the RTC Transit Connections 2013 summit in December. While the community is speaking out about the need for additional transit, the transit vision is unfunded at this time.

“The RTC continues to lead the way for our region’s transportation planning,” said Mike Kazmierski, CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. “And while our current transportation system is excellent, this blue ribbon effort will ensure that our transportation system continues to improve to meet our expected growth and long term needs of the community in the years ahead.”

The Blue Ribbon Committee is discussing and closely examining the benefits of transit to the region. The committee will determine how the transit vision may be implemented, and come up with ideas for funding the vision. Among the financial issues the committee will learn about are: the impact of the recession, what would have happened if voters had not approved fuel tax indexing in Washoe County and forecasts of RTC revenues and costs. By February 2015, the committee may make recommendations to the RTC Board of Commissioners.